Policies and Responsibilities

715 FW 1
FWM Number
Originating Office
Division of FIsh and Aquatic Conservation Programs

1.1 Purpose. This chapter promulgates policies, roles, and responsibilities applicable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's aquaculture program.

1.2 Scope. The scope is Servicewide for personnel involved in aquaculture, and whose activities interact with aquaculture.

1.3 Background. The Service has a long-standing interest in public and private aquaculture based on the Service's own fish culture activities and the potential effects of aquaculture activities on public resources. The value of private aquaculture to the well-being of the citizens and resources of the United States in providing an increasing supply of healthful animal protein, providing recreational fishing, and contributing to the nation's economy is substantial. Development of the private aquaculture industry can be consistent with and provide substantial benefits toward the conservation of the nation's wild fish populations and fishery resources. The scientific needs of the Service's fish production programs and those of the aquaculture industry are similar, and much of the Service's scientific work is directly applicable to the aquaculture industry. The Service continues to build a mutually beneficial relationship with the private aquaculture industry, to develop Service guidelines implementing established Federal policy to work with rather than compete with private enterprise, to work cooperatively to resolve conflicts between public resource stewardship and the aquaculture industry to the maximum benefit of both, and to use its scientific and technical resources to further the development of private aquaculture.

1.4 Policies. All Service aquaculture activities will be guided by the concepts of inter-agency cooperation established in the National Aquaculture Act of 1980. Mutually beneficial programs that promote ecosystem management and conservation; develop recreational, economic, and aesthetic benefits; maintain the health and productivity of both public and private aquatic resources; and foster aquaculture development are dependent upon cooperation between Federal, State, and private sector aquaculturists and resource managers. The Service's Aquaculture Plan, relative to private aquaculture, will:

A. Encourage private aquaculture to develop in a manner that is compatible with responsible public resource stewardship.

(1) Cooperate with the aquaculture industry to promote understanding and consistent implementation of the requirements of the Federal environmental permitting process, and other regulatory authorities.

(2) Ensure appropriate consideration and systematic review of the potential effect of the importation and/or transfer of non-indigenous species for aquaculture purposes, prior to and importation or transfer.

(3) Ensure responsible protection of migratory birds and other federally protected species while minimizing animal damage problems on private aquaculture operations.

(4) Encourage fish health programs, and participation in them by federal, state, tribal, and private sectors to ensure protection of natural resources and public aquaculture.

B. Make Service expertise, knowledge, and capability in fish culture and other aquaculture related disciplines available to the private aquaculture community.

(1) Provide technical assistance/advice/information based on Service experience and expertise in aquaculture.

(2) Provide fish health services and other technical services within the guidelines and limits of established Service priorities.

(3) Utilize Service facilities for demonstration of scientific and technological developments in aquaculture.

(4) Conduct training programs in aquaculture and related subjects.

(5) Conduct research and technology development with potential application to aquaculture.

1.5 Objectives. The objectives of the Service's Aquaculture Plan are to:

A. Protect the quality, health, and productivity of aquatic resources, public and private.

B. Reduce and/or manage conflicts between aquaculture and resource management, and private sector aquaculture.

C. Provide leadership, coordination, technical assistance, and information to support aquaculture development consistent with responsible resource stewardship.

1.6 Responsibilities. This sections defines the aquaculture responsibilities of the various organizational levels of the Service.

A. Assistant Director - Fisheries. On behalf of the Director, serves as the focal point for coordination and implementation of the Service's Aquaculture Plan.

B. Assistant Regional Director - Fisheries. On behalf of the Regional Director, the Assistant Regional Director - Fisheries is responsible for implementing aquaculture activities and to work cooperatively with the private sector aquaculture industry.

1.7 Authorities. Service aquaculture activities are authorized under the provisions of various Federal laws. These include:

A. National Aquaculture Act of 1980, as amended (16 U.S.C. 2801-2810). Directs the Secretary of the Interior to participate in establishing the National Aquaculture Development Plan and authorizes research, development, and other activities to encourage advancement of aquaculture in the United States.

B. Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, as amended (16 U.S.C. 742a-742j). Directs the Secretary of the Interior to provide continuing research, extension and information services, and to take any necessary steps to develop, manage, protect, and conserve fishery and wildlife resources.

C. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 661-666c). Authorizes assistance to Federal, State, and other agencies in development, protection, rearing, and stocking of fish and wildlife and controlling losses thereof.

D. Fish Rice Rotation Farming Program Act of March 15, 1958 (16 U.S.C. 778-778d). Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to establish experimental stations for research and experimentation related to the culture of fish on a commercial basis in shallow reservoirs and flooded rice fields.